What exactly do you want?

Kate Livingstone
Kate Livingstone

It’s never easy to write a column so close to Christmas Day.

I’m never sure exactly what kind of mood you guys are going to be in, so, consequently, I don’t know what you want to read about.

Are you looking for a joyful, hope-filled message, something to inspire you as we boldly walk through the last few days of 2015, and on towards the new year?

Or would you rather read about how skint we are, and how we’re kicking ourselves for going over that elusive Christmas budget?

Shall we reflect on the year gone by, or bemoan the price of mince pies?

Do we take solace from the season of goodwill, or lament how commercial Christmas really is.

So, dear reader, what do you want?

It’s a familiar question at this time of year.

You’ve probably asked everyone in your family what they want for Christmas; I’ve certainly been asked that very question half a dozen times.

“You’re a nightmare to buy for, Mum,” my daughter says.

“You really don’t need a thing, Kate,” says my mother, “and I’m near demented thinking of something for you.”

My friends are just as bad.

However over the past week, I’ve tried to focus on meeting up with my friends rather than just buying them a gift.

On Saturday, I organised a lunch for a few of my oldest friends - who brought their flaming grand weans.

Don’t get me wrong, they are precious, but really!

It seems that on the Saturday before Christmas, parents the world over employ grandparents for a few hours to ease the festive burden.

Stressed-out mums and dads take off to the shops for last-minute gifts or food, they wrap up presents or they put up their tired feet.

All these things, I realise, are easier without the children getting under your feet, but everyone, even grandparents, are busy and have plans.

So my Nigella-inspired grown-up lunch turned into a rather depressing rummage through the freezer to find chicken nuggets, waffles, and mini sausage rolls.

I’m sure my friends really did want my festive feast, but making sure their children and grandchildren were happy was more important.

The fact is that, for most of us, Christmas is about making people happy, or at least trying to.

Aside from the present buying and meal preparation, you do that bit more for someone you love.

Christmas still has the potential to bring out more of the good in us, and who wouldn’t want to read about that?